Back in the day we had a blog series called The Locker Room, which was our way of giving a glimpse into the world at Unibet and the life as an employee combined with some Q&A. It’s been a few years since the last of these blog posts, but I always liked the concept and thought I’d share my own story. As it’s a different concept – I’ll be interviewing myself – I’ll call this one #UnibetLife. It’ll be more personal, but focused around the Unibet aspect, of course – this first blog post will be more personal than the rest, as I feel a bit on an introduction is necessary.
JOINING UNIBET (AUTUMN 2012)
Having just finished high school in the summer of 2012, I was undecided to say the least, regarding plans for the future. I was self-employed - still living with my parents - helping small Danish companies getting their website up and running, while also writing betting articles and picks on my own Bundesliga blog and the largest Danish betting community. Having grown up on a farm outside a small city, I wanted to see the world and started looking for opportunities abroad. As I was really into betting and Unibet was a major player on the Danish market, it was a no-brainer to send an application, when they were looking for a Danish customer service agent to join the team in Malta.
It was a warm Danish September day – 12 degrees and raining – when I had my first Skype job interview. The whole process was rather fast and went something like this:
- I sent in my CV and cover letter by email
- About a week later I received an email enquiring about my availability for a quick call and asking for my Skype details.
- A few days later it was time for the job interview on Skype. I had put on a suit and everything was ready. I was extremely nervous. I really wanted this to happen, and I didn’t exactly have a lot of interview experience – apart from my own company, I’d only worked as a cashier in the local convenience store, neither of which had involved an actual interview. The interview ended up being much easier than I thought it would, and I was left with a good feeling at the end. I was promised they’d get back to me within a week.
- After the interview I got a small test; I had to write some CS related texts.
- Once again it didn’t take more than a few days, before there was news. I got a call and was offered the job. The offer was sent by email, and I of course pressed the accept button right away. I had to start just 10 days later, which involved a move from grey Denmark to blue and sunny Malta. I believe the salary was around € 20.000 a year back then, and today it’s a few thousand more than that.
The interview process was extremely efficient, and I should mention that it can sometimes take a lot longer than this. The process has changed since 2012 as well. Today, there’s usually an IQ and a personality test involved, if you make it past the first interview, and the hiring manager will interview you as well, not just HR.
Moving to Malta was easy. Having just turned 19 at the time, I could literally live out of suitcase. I think I managed to fit everything into a backpack and one piece of checked in luggage. Unibet had sent me a document with all essential details about moving to Malta and included in the job offer was a relocation package of € 1000, which would cover a stay at a hotel, until I managed to find a flat.
Unibet/Kindred office facts
Today, we’ve got offices all around the world, the 3 major ones being in London (Wimbledon), Malta (Sliema) and Stockholm. Stockholm is mostly focused around the technical/development par, London has a lot of people working with marketing, and Malta is support, player safety, products and more.
Over 1,600 employees, representing more than 55 nationalities, currently work at Kindred Group/Unibet.
I knew little about Malta at the time. I had read a bit on various forums, but I really didn’t know what to expect. I had the name of the hotel and knew the office addresses. What more did I really need to know? It was around 30 degrees when I arrived - a very welcome change from the grey Danish weather. I arrived a Sunday and had to be at work the next day for welcome training. I wanted to make a good first impression and decided to wear a black suit. I checked the distance from the hotel to the office; just 2.5km, I could walk. Perfect. Fast forward 25 minutes and I arrive soaking wet at the office. A black suit in 30 degrees and sunshine, for a Dane who’s not used to that sort of heat. As great a combination as pineapple and pizza. To make matters worse, I think there was just 2-3 guys at the entire office who wore a suit. Most employees were wearing shorts and quite a few even flipflops. I always thought office dress codes are silly and from another time, so I liked that it was this casual, and just wish I had known one day earlier. The next day it was shorts, t-shirt and flipflops.
I remember the first day at Unibet as being great, despite Maltas hot welcome. The full day was spent in the training room with a bunch of other new employees and two trainers. We started out with a tour of the office, which at the time seemed quite okay to me, as I had nothing to compare to, but it left a lot to be desired - we've sinced moved office and the current one is amazing; more about that later. I don’t remember exactly what we were taught the first day, but the first two weeks were an introduction to the products, different tools etc., and we had a bit of time “on the floor” with the more experienced agents from the market we would be covering.
One aspect I feel I must mention as well is culture shock. Being from a civilized country like Denmark, the first couple of months in Malta were quite the experience. You need a whole other level of patience and should generally be prepared for people to be late. If you’ve scheduled for an AC to be installed at 11am, it might as well happen at 3pm, so take the full day off. It’s also common for anyone delivering something or coming to your place to say they’ll come between noon and 5pm. Dealing with any public authority…. well, I don’t know how to describe it, but if you’re getting a bit thin on the top, it’ll be an efficient way to get bald in no time. Once you get used to it and know what to expect, it’s not that bad, but it takes some getting used to. Mela.
The first time I realized how different Malta and Denmark are, was when I started looking for a flat to rent. Forget about finding a place on the real estate agents websites, as they never update the site and just leave the ones that were great value for money, so that you’ll contact them, and they can sell you something else. This isn’t as bad today as it was in 2012, but it sure is a different experience.
JOINING UNIBET (PART 2) - NOT WORK RELATED
Before getting into the more work related part of this blog post, I thought I'd share a bit more personal stuff related to Malta.
First one is not that memorable, as alcohol stole the memories like a thief in the night :Rofl: For a 19-year-old foreigner in Malta, alcohol is almost an inevitable part of the "experience", and often lots of it. Malta might be religious and conservative in some regards, but it's certainly not the case when it comes to partying and being intoxicated. Especially in the summer it's a party island, at least the parts that I frequented in 2012 and the following years. Before I moved, I read the following on a Danish poker forum (recited from memory): "They're extremely religious, but at the same time you'll see countless 14-year-olds struggling staying upright and showing more skin than on the beach". Not far from the truth. Reason I'm mentioning this is simply that alcohol plays a big role for many foreigners in Malta, at least the first year or two, and it's related to the below paragraph as well.
A common complaint from foreigners in Malta is that "it's too small", "there's nothing to do" etc. Yes, it's a small island, but the people usually complaining are the ones never leaving the St Julians/Sliema/Gzira/Partyville area - for those who've never been to Malta I should mention that a significant part of the east coast is one big city, consisting of many cities with no real separation (like St Julians/Sliema/Gzira/Partyville). Malta has got a lot to offer in the summer, and I believe it's ultimately up to you, to make your stay enjoyable. Beaches are great - go to some of the smaller ones and they won't be too crowded - diving is amazing and the weather is fantastic from April to November - go on boat trips, drive west/south/north, spend a weekend on Gozo (smaller island north of Malta) etc. There's a lot of events in the summer months as well - it's no London or Paris, of course.
WORKING IN CUSTOMER SUPPORT (autumn 2012-summer 2013)
A LOT has changed since I worked in CS, so I won't be covering processes and stuff like that. You might be interested in the interview found here: https://www.unibetcommunity.com/t5/Community-Blog/The-Locker-Room-Customer-Support/ba-p/19174
When I joined, the Danish team was 6 man strong and lead by an Icelandic teamleader also responsible for the Norwegian CS. Back then I believe there was around 100 CS agents in total, and today the CS department is +200 man strong!
The systems back in 2012 weren't amazing, and chat and email/phone were handled in two independent systems. The chat software had a queue system where everyone could see who was waiting and well as the topic, and you actively had to pick the chat as an agent. This resulted in some odd situations where poker customers could wait twice as long as everyone else, as no one was very keen on having to fire up the poker backoffice - we were with another provider back then, and the BO is honestly the most terrible system I've ever worked with. As chat was separate from email/phone, you could also end up in situations where you were dealing with 2-3 chats and then got a 15 min call at the same time. The escalation and case handling was also a pain back in the day, as a lot was done in outlook, by flagging emails. I'm happy to say that everything is very different today, and the CS systems should be pretty awesome - I haven't actually tried it myself yet.
CS systems - how many?Despite the above text, I don't actually know how many systems CS have to deal with today, but my guess would be around 30+, with approx. 10 of them being frequently used. Pretty much every casino provider got their own backoffice, we've got one for poker, there's one for bingo, there's the contact handling system, there's the internal case handling etc. etc.
The above might come across as a bit negative, but I really enjoyed my time in CS, and it's a time I think back on with joy. I learned a lot, and having worked in CS has helped me during all my time with Unibet/Kindred. I'd even go as far as saying every employee should start their employment with 2 weeks on the floor/in training. It gives you another perspective on things and I believe it ultimately makes you more customer centric in everything you do. I will admit that I enjoyed it more the first 5 months than the last 4, as it does tend to get repetitive, and I might have had a slightly different opinion, had I worked +2 years as a CS agent. I actually did help out the Danish CS on a few occasions, as long as 1 year after I had stopped in the team, as I felt it was healthy with a refresher and getting an up-to-date view on things in CS. It's now been several years since my last chat/email/call, but with all the community involvement, I don't really feel a strong urge for it either.
Thick brag incoming. I believe I'm still the one with the highest ever CSAT score, after more than 300 survey responses - since 2010 we've asked the customers about their experience with CS, following a contact. I managed to dig out some numbers from the survey tool:
I've been trying to find some of my pictures from the old Unibet office, but with no success, so instead you'll get a few pictures of my first ever flat, the neighborhood, how to dry clothes when you're in a hurry and some pictures from a typical night out and the way home (even the most dull objects can apparently be interesting to an intoxicated mind - no, I can't tell you why I took those pictures :Rofl: )
I'll end this CS section with a story about a burglary I experienced during my first year on the island. I was living on the first floor, and from the street you could see my gaming setup with 3 screens, which was too tempting for a sorry soul. One day when I returned home from work, I found the flat as you can see on the below pictures. Funniest thing about this is that the door wasn't even locked. The idiot could just have pulled the door handle and opened the door :Rofl: The door did sometimes act up a bit and you had to pull it towards you before being able to open it. Normally I'd feel like the idiot for not locking the door, but I found it oddly satisfying in this case. The guys got away with my laptop and € 1500 in cash, as I had been too lazy to open a Maltese bank account and just had the cash at home. Okay, the burglar isn't the only idiot in this story. The PS3 had just been left in front of the door - maybe they'd been interrupted, or they felt sorry for me for taking the cash and steal all my electronic entertainment...
The Maltese police surprisingly enough took it all extremely serious, and they showed up and took fingerprints and the whole thing. They even had the guys on CCTV, and they could see they walked out of my flat and into the residential building on the other side of the street. Did they ever catch the guys? Of course not, mela :Rofl:
WORKING AS CUSTOMER SUPPORT ANALYST (SUMMER 2013-AUTUMN 2014)
This will likely be the shortest section, in terms of work related content, so I'll get a bit philosophical :D
As you know by now, I joined Unibet in the autumn of 2012, and already in the summer of the following year I was promoted, and I got a close to perfect position at the time. How did I manage to do it in such relatively short time? I think there're 3 key elements to your professional life: effort, skill and luck, and not necessarily in that order. You can get extremely far with any two of these, and I've seen enough cases where I felt luck was surely the only applicable element to an individuals success :Smirk:
I've been blessed with especially a lot of luck. I've always been pretty good with numbers - in highschool I wrote and published my own maths book (pictures below) - so it was perfect timing when the customer support analyst (mostly responsible for reporting CS figures) left the company in the summer of 2014. At the same time the Danish teamleader had left a few months earlier, which meant the CS operations manager was my temporary manager, and I had the perfect opportunity to show what I was capable of. If the CS analyst hadn't left or the operations manager hadn't been my manager, I doubt I'd have managed to move on in such a short time. Even with a crazy amount of effort - which I do believe I put in at the time - and some skill, if I can say so myself, luck was really the deciding factor.
Enough about luck, skill and effort, let's move on to the actual position and what it entailed, but first a quick overview of the CS structure in 2013 compared to today.
Customer support department structure2013
In 2013, the CS department was split in two: operations and strategy, with the head of each team reporting to the head of CS. The strategy team, which I was part of as an analyst, consisted of a planning team (primarily taking care of the scheduling), the training team and two analysts (one working with data - myself - the other primarily projects impacting CS). The operations team consisted of several different teams with their own teamleader (DK/NO, SE, FR, IT, NL, BE, emerging markets - if my memory serves me right)
Today, the CS department is a completely different beast. As already mentioned, we've got significantly more agents than in 2012/2013, but the entire department has grown considerably in size. The Head of CS has got several direct reports; Head of Resource Planning (8 direct reports - used to be a team of just 2), 4 Operations Managers (teamleaders reporting to these and agents reporting to teamleaders) and the head of e-Service (5 direct reports).
Arggg, I had written a really long a detailed section below, but the session expired and I could only recoved a fraction of it. I don't feel like re-writing the full thing, but I'll try not to leave out too many critical details.
My desk at the time. Can't see much of the office, but there really wasn't a lot of space back then.
There was a new Strategy Manager in the CS department, so despite the analyst position being an old one, I got to be involved in re-shaping this position and define the areas of responsibility. Before it was very focused around the data and reporting aspect and helping out the planning duo. The data and reporting aspect remained, but I got to add a "Service Improvement" aspect, which was basicallly working on any project that might improve the service - yes, a very vague definition, but it was perfect to me, as I got to pick up anything I felt needed attention.
Despite being pretty good with numbers and a bit of a geek, I didn't have a lot of experience working with Excel at the time. I had done simple IF and VLOOKUP before, but that was really it. I had no experience building dashboards or working with calculated fields in pivot tables, and Visual Basic was like latin to me. I had a real lack of knowledge, when I started working with this, but Kindred/Unibet believed in my eagerness to learn, and I think that tells a lot about the company; they saw potential and were willing to gamble. I'll always be grateful for the trust that was put in me, especially during the first couple of years.
Did the gamble pay off? I think it did. It obviously took some time to get up to speed, but I set myself the goal of building a new Excel KPI report for the department, within a couple of months. It took slightly longer than two months, but I managed to build a pretty decent report, and I acquired more knowledge in this period than I think I ever had in such a short time. I wanted to share some screenshots from the reports I built, but I don't seem to have access to the specific folder on the shared drive anymore :( you'll get some screenshots from other reports in the next section :)
In addition to the reporting and Excel aspect, I was also made responsible for the CS satisfaction survey, and this turned out to be another stepping stone. I got a bit of ADHD in some regards and get bored if I do the same thing for a long period of time. I either need to be in a position with a lot of frequent changes - like my current one - or change position after 1-1.5 year, to avoid getting bored. After about a year in the CS Analyst position, a new team - Customer Champion Team - was formed in London. They were, among other things, working on setting up new surveys for measuring the satisfaction with the entire customer experience, and they started looking for a third team member, to help out with especially the technical aspect. My manager at the time knew the "Customer Champion", and she recommended me for the position. Again, it was really a question of perfect timing - me having been in the role for about a year when they started looking at expanding the team - and a bit of luck in the sense that I had an excellent manager who did her best to help me in the process.
Some random pictures of office art at the old Unibet office.
The new position meant a better salary and I've never been one to think much about saving money, so I upgraded to a penthouse with a huge terrace (lived there with a Danish colleague and friend who's currently the CS Systems Owner). We paid €800 a month for this place in 2013. Today, it probably costs around €1200, as the rent has increased like crazy in Malta.
A May night in 2014. Most likely ended up in Partyville shortly after this was taken (I'm on the left).
I might amend and add the above section later. Writing it a 2nd time, after it all got deleted, that is a real pain :)
WORKING AS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE ANALYST (AUTUMN 2014-WINTER 2015)
This section is a work-in-progress. Will be finished today :)
After about two years in Malta, it was with mixed feelings when I left the island in October 2014. When you live more than a year the same place, you form connections and you - at least in my case - grow to love the place with all of its flaws. It was sad, but it was mostly exciting, and I was really looking forward to trying the big city life.
Despite a significant salary increase, the cost of living in London meant quite a change in living standard. I went from paying € 500 (as I shared with a friend - see previous section) for a really nice penthouse with a huge terrace to paying £ 800 for a room in a house with 4 others! The rent in Malta has increased a lot and is quite high today, but the rent in London was in a league of its own. I could surely have gotten something cheaper, but I wanted to live close to the office, so that I didn't have to jump on the tube every day (London office is in Wimbledon).
So how was it to live in London? Amazing. I really loved my time there, but I also felt it was time to move back to Malta, when I did. London has such much to offer in terms of experiences and food. The food is actually what I miss the most - obviously not fish and chips or any really traditional British dishes. Malta isn't terrible in this regard, but you can't really compare a small island with a metropolis like London. If you're single, London isn't the worst place in the world either ;)
A visit to one of our partners offices - unfortunately, I'm tempted to say, as we don't have such a bar at any of the Unibet offices :D
A few pictures from the old London office:
Professionally, the move to London was a big step up the ladder, and it was so different in every imaginable way. The culture was like going to another planet and the people were a lot more competent and efficient than I had gotten used to in Malta. This might be risky statement, but the professional standard in Malta is quite low, and this is not a Unibet/Kindred specific or industry specific comment; it applies to the entire island. As Malta is such an iGaming hub, there an abundance of iGaming jobs on the island, and getting quality candidates does often seem like challenge. I worked for a relatively big competitor for a few months (this is years in the future from this section) and I'm pleased to say that Unibet/Kindred is in a completely different league - in a good way - than this competitor.
Unibet and surveysToday, we're sending out surveys automatically, every single day. We're capturing feedback on all the different customer journeys, if customers stop playing we ask them why, we ask about the satisfaction with customer support interactions and we do various ad-hoc surveys (I've for instance done 2 for poker, since I started in my current position).
We get several thousand survey responses every month.
So what did I actually do as a "Customer Experience Analyst"? As I've mentioned in the previous section, the team was relatively new, when I joined, and it was just myself, another analyst and the Customer Champion, so we were still figuring out exactly what the job should entail. Main things I was involved in:
- Create, send out and analyze the result from the first major churn survey. The survey was sent to more than 180k customers, asking why they stopped playing with us. I ended up producing a 200 pages long report, and this is one of the most interesting tasks I've ever had the honor of doing.
- Create various ad-hoc surveys
- Support with the quarterly Customer Experience survey
- Travel to the different offices to present why the customer experience is so important and share findings from the surveys
- Produce various reports and dashboards (see a rather unusual - for Excel - example below)
- I was still a bit involved with CS, so in addition to still owning their survey, I also wrote reporting requirements
- Work on any project I believe could have a positive impact on the CX - yes, possiby the vagest definition in the universe :Rofl: - but an example of this is the customer community project, and it ended up being such a big part of the job that it deserves its own bulletpoint
- The customer community was my idea, and I got to drive it from the very first initial chats with my boss to writing the business case and eventually taking on the job as community manager, which brings us to the next section :)
Part of the business case I wrote for this magnificent place :)
WORKING AS COMMUNITY MANAGER (WINTER 2015 - SUMMER 2017)
Our beloved community. My baby. Before we talk about this position, I want to cover the business case, birth and some general comments.
As I mentioned above, I actually got to drive this community project from idea stage, to business case and internal lobbying, being the project manager, and eventually the community manager. All the way from start to finish. Once again I think this tells a lot about the company, and it's another thing I'll always be grateful for. I think it's very few organizations of this size, where this would be possible - for a good reason, as I do see it as problematic in most cases; you really need a broad skillset and to be surrounded by the right people.
Getting my manager on board wasn't a problem, but I did fear that there'd be some resistance against the project internally, which could ultimately result in an early abortion. Our industry isn't known or seen as the most transparent one, and especially not back in 2015 - it is changing for the better. No other competitors had invested in a proper branded community, where everything company related could be discussed, you could engage directly with employees from different teams and get help. Betfair had their community, but it was without much employee involvement, and 888 had a simple and pretty dead forum.
Surprisingly enough - I really did fear the worst - it was quite easy to sell the project internally, and we were met with very little scepticism. Obviously, not everyone was on board from the first day, but the feedback was always fair and objective and I do believe we eventually managed to turn everyone around and see the potential. I felt especially the executive management believed in the idea, and I think this is also one of the reasons we actually managed to launch according to schedule, which doesn't exactly always happen with bigger projects like this :) We wanted to be live before the European Championship in football, and as you can see from the below intranet post, we managed to do just that.
The first community membersAmong the first 100 or so customer to sign up on the community were members like @FeelsBadMan, @ReCorpH, @SCOBY, @Farseer, @MoreTBC, @MathrimC and @MaGs. Approx. 10 % of the members signing up the first month were active this year as well!
Launching the community was extremely exciting, but also a bit scary. It was difficult to know what to expect, and some of the internal concerns had for instance been that it'd end up a thrash bin where customers would bitch about everything and just try to damage the brand. I never feared that, but I didn't really know what to expect in terms of engagement; how much would there be, what would people be talking about etc. I did expect some very vocal members complaining - probably a bit influenced by my time in CS, where this did of course happen occationally - so it was quite the surprise that we pretty much didn't see a single really negative post the first month - at least not unfairly negative :)
Another area I have to touch upon is that of being a manager. Being the oldest of four siblings, I did have some experience being the boss :Rofl: but the Community Manager role was the first - and only - time I got to be a manager in a more professional context. Recruiting for the two moderator positions turned out to be quite the experience, as we - I say we, as my manager at the time was a lot involved - ended up hiring another two Danes, and Marco was a good friend of mine. Being a manager and close friend at the same time is a dangerous cocktail, or at least it can be. Marco and I even lived together for the full duration of our time together in the community team. While it can make some things easier, I generally believe it does complicate stuff, I and have seen it go wrong several times. Fortunately, that wasn't the case with Marco or Jeppe, and I like to believe they were both pretty happy with the job and not too unhappy with me - you'll have to ask them I guess :D After I handed in my resignation, it probably took a turn for the worse, but I think that's somewhat natural, and it wasn't that bad, the motivation just wasn't the same.
It's not that I ever lost the motivation, while being involved with the community. I called it "my baby" earlier in this section, and that's really how it's felt, and how I still feel about it to some extent. After resigning and becoming a Unibet customer, I still continued to use the community, started my own silly poker blog etc. As long as the community is around, I can promise I'll still drop by, no matter if I'm an employee or not. I think the below personal community stats show my dedication better than I can explain with words.
1st account (from starting as community manager till joining Unibet again):
2nd (current) account:
The job as community manager was pretty awesome, as I essentially owned the platform and did everything from the strategy to speaking to the awesome members. We could try a lot of things, as everything was new, and we were really making the rules ourselves. It involved some strange working hours, as we were just the three of us, and I wanted to cover Monday to Sunday from reasonably early till later. I can't really make a list of typical tasks or an average day, as it was changing all the time. I already mentioned the strategy part and talking to the members. We did a bunch of promotions, I coded a lot of the design myself etc. etc.
There's an abundance of pictures from this time, most SFW, so difficult to pick which ones to put here.
The community team desk. The space was never meant for anyone to sit at permanently (it was for visitors from other offices), but it was kind of secluded and we could sit by ourselves, talking in Danish, so we liked it :)
One of the rare community streams. Usually done from home, but this one was from the office
Some pictures from one of the Unibet Open events we went to. Many good stories to tell from these, but not sure they belong in this blog :Rofl:
One story I might as well tell, as some of you already know; when I got too drunk and deleted a UO community promo during the welcome drinks in Romania. To me, the UO events as part of the community team were about bonding with the players and really being part of the group, while updating the rest of the community on the performance of the members. I didn't think too much about the professional aspect of it, or I had rather decided that it shouldn't be of priority. It obviously shouldn't turn too crazy, but looking like an idiot on the dancefloor and saying yes to every drink, that was how I wanted to do it, and I think I can say I succeeded, especially at the dance floor part (you can find the pictures yourself on Flickr :Rofl: ).
The welcome drinks were supposed to close at midnight, if I recall correctly (and there's a good chance I don't), but the drinks were still flying over the bar an hour later, so while my timing would have bee perfect for midnight, going to bed with the roof spinning, I ended up getting a few too many drinks. Unfortunately, having a blast at the welcome drinks caused me to do a serious missclick. I had built a betting competition in Wordpress, where the members/viewers could bet on UO and UO stream events, and being the workaholic I am, I wanted to update the competition before leaving the welcome drinks. Cause, what could go wrong.... I managed to hit the delete button on my mobile, which in hindsight I should have styled away for security reason :D, and deleted 1/3 of the bets/promotion. It was a great promotion while it lasted, but it never ran again. I took full responsibility for the incident the day after, and it ended up costing a bit more from the promo budget, but the biggest part went to @MoreTBC, and now I'm trying to convince myself that it's the main reason he's joining the company in a couple of weeks, so ultimately an amazing investment :Rofl: Not the proudest moment of my career, but we all make mistakes, and thankfully this is one of very few on my end, and I learned a thing or two from the experience :)
Marco and I resided in a bit of a castle.
In July 2017 I ended a big chapter of my life, as I walked out the door of the Unibet office for the last time (at least the old office). After 5 years as a Unibet employee, it was time to give a business idea of mine a shot. There's a lot more I could say in this section, and I might add some later. Again, requests for more info are welcome :)
WORKING AS POKER PRODUCT MANAGER (EARLY 2019 - TODAY)
If you've been paying attention to the dates for each position, you'll see there's quite a gap between this one and the community manager position. As mentioned just above, I left Kindred to start my own business, http://igamingintel.com/, which ultimately didn't work out (at least not on the first attempt :)). I could write a novel about this experience, and I also worked as a copywriter/CRM for a competitor for a few months, which could have its own section, but let's keep this Kindred/Unibet related :)
As I came to the realization that my business idea wouldn't work out, and I had to start looking for a job, you shouldn't be surprised to hear that I instantly went to look at open vacancies at Kindred/Unibet. I ended up applying for a position in the casino team - by players, for players; I play all products apart from bingo - and made it to a HU battle, where I saw my pair of tens beat by a part of kings with more relevant experience. The recruitment process was long (3 months), and I wasn't super impressed by HR, so I almost gave up on joining Kindred again. I began looking at jobs with competitors, and my financial situation meant that I had to go for a position I would be almost certain to get and with an ASAP start date. Because of this, I ended up in a role I was probably a bit overqualified for, or at least not a perfect fit; Danish copywriter and CRM.
Any new job is interesting for a while - at least that's always been the case for me - and it was the same for the CRM position. However, the company I worked for wasn't on the Danish market yet, and the launch kept on being postponed - extremely frustrating. After just a few months I began thinking about other opportunities. I obviously still had a bunch of friends and connections working at Kindred/Unibet, and I was recommended for a job I found extremely interesting but also not a perfect match; Senior Poker Product Manager. I'm not a great poker player myself. Read https://www.unibetcommunity.com/t5/Blogs-Stories/A-blog-about-how-not-to-play-poker/m-p/97287#M1654 if you want proof :D I'm way too impatient to ever become a good at the game, and even though I've at least got some of the necessary skills, I frankly don't have any real interest in improving my game. I play poker for the entertainment, just like with casino, and I'm the player you're dreaming of getting in position in a UO final, €25 HexaPro etc. :)
Fun fact: I actually cashed in my first ever live tournament (that wasn't a homegame :) ), which was a €150? turbo event at UO Bucharest. Live poker I can play more seriously, but I'm well aware that there was a lot of luck involved in getting anything from that tournament :Rofl:
Due to a lack of poker skills, I never really considered any poker roles - the poker team has traditionally been former pros - but I never say no to a challenge, and I was hooked from the moment I heard of the opportunity and that I might actually have a chance, despite being a spewy recreational who'd happily go allin with 72o pre, just for the fun of it :)
Fast-forward a couple of months and I'm back at Kindred! When I left, we were still at the old office in Gzira, so it was quite a different experience walking in the door to the new office. As I'm still quarantined at home and the office is shut down, I have had to steal some pictures from Facebook etc., to show just how awesome the office is :)
One of the things that got me hooked on the role was the wide array of tasks and responsibilities. I got the impression that there would be quite a lot of freedom to work on what I deemed most important, and that is really critical to me. No two weeks being the exact same, that helps with the motivation and feeling inspired. Kris - the head of poker - also came across as someone who definitely wouldn't micromanage, and that is probably the most important aspect to me. I had a manager in the past - thankfully only for a few months, and I had already been offered another position at the time - who was an utter nightmare of a micromanagement devil. If there is one thing that can piss me off, it's micromanagement, and especially when it's done by an incompetent person. Better stop here, as otherwise it might get ugly :D
"Poker Product Manager" job description
About the role
Passionate about poker? This is a unique opportunity to join the Poker Team at Kindred as we continue to make our mark in the online poker industry. Our standalone poker product remains the fastest growing licensed online poker platform in the world and is the current IGA Poker Operator of the Year. We are looking for a new Senior Product Manager to help us continue that growth while providing the best experience for our players.
As part of an ambitious and driven team you will work closely with the Head of Poker, internal stakeholders and our software provider to ensure that we deliver on an ambitious product roadmap. This role will be covering all areas of poker management, from product development of the client till marketing and promotion, as well as being the ambassador for poker internally. A deep understanding of poker and types of players and poker eco-system is essential for being a successful applicant. This is truly a unique opportunity to help shape an innovative and growing platform.
Being part of Kindred means that you will join our 1300+ employee family with offices in Europe and Australia. You will be a key player business area and this role is an excellent challenge and opportunity for the right individual.
What will you be doing?
- Assisting in developing and evolving a product vision which sets the product apart from competitors
- Developing the product roadmap
- Lead and drive complex projects in all phases – functionality requirements definition, stakeholder and executive presentations, UI/UX and graphics coordination, software development and others as needed.
- Alongside the Head of Poker, take responsibility for the product roadmap and the final product that is delivered to players
- Proactively suggest innovative solutions to improve the player experience and other KPIs on mobile, web and desktop poker clients
- Write detailed specification documents for software development teams.
- Interface with other business units and stakeholders to find world class solutions to business needs
- Ensuring that our product is future-proofed and leads from the front for years to come
- Conducting competitive analysis to identify areas of opportunity and develop and maintain detailed and up-to-date analysis of the competitive landscape.
- Collaborating with the marketing team in order to plan, execute and analyse promotions and marketing activities
How will you be measured?
- Successful new features launch and integration
- Poker actives and revenue
- Successful brand migrations
What are we looking for
- Minimum of 3 years online poker experience
- Passion for poker and gambling
- Business driven mindset
- Strong analytical and problem solving skills
- Experience and interest in product development and product management
- Strong knowledge of mobile channels and mobile gaming
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Can do attitude with a positive mindset
So what do I actually do? As I've already mentioned, it really changes a lot every week/month, but these are some of the key pieces:
- Player engagement
- Engage with you guys on here, to get feedback on new features and bugs and ideas for potential new features.
- Engage with a closed group of community members for testing of new features and more detailed feedback and product discussions (Discord and community)
- Be present on 2+2 for above mentioned reasons
- Conduct ad-hoc poker survey research
- Analyze results from ongoing and ad-hoc surveys
- Work with Relax on software improvements. This is a pretty big one with a lot of different aspects. This year, I've for instance spent a lot of time on discussions around the client redesign and making mockups in Photoshop. After the redesign it'll mostly be around the new loyalty system, and it really is ever-changing.
- Data analysis, ad-hoc reporting requests and a couple of weekly reports that have to be updated
- Support the rest of the team. We work closely together in the poker team, and I try to support Leo, Michael and Andy wherever I can.
Just one example to show how the role really develops over time: if we look at the first 6 months in the job, I almost exclusively focused on bugs - would say 85 % of my time was spent on this - as there was a lot of work in documenting everything and actually compiling a proper list, put together a backlog with prioritization and improve the processes. Today, I spend less than 50 % of my time on bugs, and in a year it'll - hopefully - be closer to 15-20%.
I don't think there's a need to cover the accomplishments of the first year, as I've already described those in my year-in-review post: https://www.unibetcommunity.com/t5/General-Poker/2019-year-in-review-2020-what-to-expect-amp-release-notes-2-37/m-p/292028#M44435
I have mentioned the redesign a couple of times by now, so thought I'd share a small tease for what's to come:
An extremely exciting project and something I've wanted to do since the first day on the job. It's mostly a question of redesigning all pages - not that many new functionalities added - but I still believe it'll be a huge improvement for all players. Especially the MTT players should look forward to the new MTT lobby and features :)
I'm very hopeful for the future, considering what we've achieved in the past year or so. With both a client redesign, new loyalty system, great mobile web client etc. coming in the next 12 months, I believe we're in a fantastic position. The huge increase in poker traffic the last couple of weeks - Corona having a big impact - will also be super interesting to follow, and hopefully some of the many, many new poker signups will fall in love with the game and stay with us. The last week has - by far - been the best ever week for Unibet poker :Heart: Just to give one example of how well we're currently doing: the last week, MTT's have been doing significantly better than during the best ever UOS week! So much stuff is happening right now for poker, just have a look at the Poker -> General section here on the community :)
This might be the end of the blog. The last part took too long for me to finish, and I'm not super happy with the final result. For future blogs I'll have a more structured approach :) It's possible I'll come back to it and amend and add to the post, but right now I'm not feeling it, and there's a lot do to because of the spike in traffic :)
Over and out.